With iconic granite buildings that glint in the sunshine and a golden beach overlooking the North Sea, Aberdeen is one of Scotland’s most striking cities. This historic seaside city offers excellent shopping, a rich cultural calendar, a vibrant nightlife and dozens of prize-winning parks and gardens - making it the ideal destination for a city break.
Traditionally a fishing town, Aberdeen’s harbour has long been the heart of the Granite City. Today the area is a hotspot for marine wildlife watching, with tour boats regularly setting off in search of dolphins, whales, porpoises and puffins. Visitors can find out more about the harbour’s history at the nearby Aberdeen Maritime Museum a free and award-winning attraction which offers an insight into just how integral North Sea oil and gas industries have been to Aberdeen’s prosperity.
With several excellent shopping centres to its name, Aberdeen is the perfect place to indulge in some retail therapy. Adjacent to the city’s railway station is Union Square, Scotland’s second-biggest shopping centre, with dozens of stores, restaurants and a ten screen cinema. At night, Union Street and Belmont Street are bustling with visitors to their stylish bars and clubs, some of which are housed within beautiful converted churches.
Aberdeen boasts a wide range of impressive architecture - look out for the neo-Gothic Marischal College on Union Street. Winner of Britain in Bloom 13 times, the city also offers a wealth of parks and gardens, the Victorian Union Terrace Gardens are perfectly placed for a break between shopping trips.
With golden sands and stunning views, Aberdeen beach is a firm favourite with families, walkers, and windsurfers. Those with a taste for adrenaline will love the thrills and spills of Codonas Amusement Park on the Beach Esplanade, and just a few minutes’ walk away is Transition Extreme, a stylish extreme sports centre with an indoor skate park for BMXers and skateboarders, plus a challenging indoor climbing wall.
Aberdeen regularly hosts the biggest names in comedy and music, with venues including Aberdeen Music Hall and His Majesty Theatre providing an exciting programme of events. The city is also the base for a variety of festivals, with the Aberdeen International Youth Festival and Word, the University of Aberdeen writers’ festival, just some of the highlights of its busy calendar.
Best hotel deals
Residence Inn Aberdeen ★★★★
Situated in the real heart of Aberdeen
Very spacious room with fine bathroom
Royal Athenaeum Suites ★★★★
Central location at the top of Union Street
Fully equipped kitchen and king size beds
Ideally located in the city centre
Great accommodation, very cozy, good breakfast
Tours & Activities
Top things to do
Visit Aberdeen University
Take a stroll around the cobbled streets of Old Aberdeen and discover the magnificent King’s College, part of Aberdeen University. Founded in 1495, it’s the third oldest university in Scotland and fifth oldest in the UK.
Get a taste of Aberdeen Angus
Sink your teeth into a world-famous Aberdeen Angus steak or beef burger. You’ll find dozens of quality restaurants serving up locally sourced produce in the city centre.
Afternoon tea at Provost Skene's House
Pay a visit to Provost Skene’s House, a museum and period house once home to local provost Sir George Skene. Entry is free, and the tearoom in the 17th century cellar is a firm favourite with locals and tourists alike.
Discover a floral paradise in Duthie Park
Wander the tropics at the David Welch Winter Gardens in Duthie Park. One of Europe’s largest indoor gardens, its tranquil greenhouses are home to a paradise of rare and exotic plants, cacti and ferns from all over the world.
Be inspired by Aberdeen's artists
Discover the Granite City’s creative side at Aberdeen Art Gallery. Offering free admission, the gallery’s high-quality exhibitions includes works by painter James McBey, jeweller James Cromar Watt and fashion designer Bill Gibb, all born in Aberdeenshire.